Friday, 3 October 2014

Motorists should be paid to scrap diesel cars, says Boris Johnson . . .


Motorists should be paid to scrap diesel cars, says Boris Johnson

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Motorists should be paid at least £1,000 to scrap pollution-belching diesel cars, Boris Johnson urged.

The Mayor of London proposed the move to clean up dirty air in the capital blamed for cutting short the lives of thousands of people a year.

But he also hit out at critics who claim that London has the filthiest air in the world, suggesting other cities were not being as open about their pollution levels.

Preliminary results of a new City Hall report showed that the average levels of NO2 across monitoring sites near busy roads in Stuttgart, Paris, Munich, Rome and Milan were higher than in London.

While the capital has pollution hotspots, Mr Johnson added in evidence to an air quality inquiry by the Commons environmental audit committee that Mexico City’s NO2 levels were nearly double those of London, and Hong Kong, Istanbul, Beijing and Shanghai also had higher average readings.

Insisting that people should not be put off from cycling and walking in London, the City Hall submission stressed that the capital had the most comprehensive pollution monitoring network of any city.

“London also has a proud history of locating its monitors in the most polluted places (often on the central reservation of the road or at kerbside),” it said.

“Some cities – especially those where resources may be limited or air pollution is less of a priority – have smaller networks, locate them at “background” sites or may not monitor pollution at all.”

The Mayor has declared that improving London’s air is a priority and is urging the Government and the European Commission to do more to reverse the shift towards cars using diesel which is blamed for particulate pollution harmful to human health.

“A national scrappage scheme for diesel and other polluting vehicles is now needed as a priority in order to compensate people who have bought polluting diesel vehicles in good faith, as well as to drive forward air quality improvements,” the Greater London Authority told the MPs.

Mr Johnson has already proposed hiking the congestion charge for many diesel vehicles, so it could double to £20, rather than banning them from his planned ultra low emission zone due to be introduced in 2020.

The extra levy would be paid for vehicles not meeting stricter Euro 6 emission rules.

The Mayor admits that London faces a “significant challenge” in bringing NO2 levels down to within EU limits.

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